They have built in costs from years of selling goods at or below cost in many instances. For a very long time they were focused on sales, not profit. The reputation of hounding customers around the store isn't going to change fast enough to keep this company around. They cannot compete on low end products with Walmart. They don't know how and aren't put together to deliver premium goods, especially electronics. Home Depot is a much more consumer friendly environment to shop white goods. Sears the same, but in many instances by being in a mall shopping there can be more of an adventure.
The plan was open more stores. Eventually that process was going to conclude. At that point contraction becomes necessary until there are no or very few left. The deal was all about the equity markets. Sell stock maintain control and insiders profit from the equity sales. After that, retirement.